By Charlie Morasch, Land Line staff writer
Fresh off the recent announcement that the U.S. and Mexico will expand cross-border trucking comes startling figures that show the saturation of organized crime in Mexico and the target that commercial trucks have become.
According to TSA’s “Transportation Suspicious Incidents Report", criminals in Mexico hijacked more than 10,000 commercial trucks last year.
The hard statistic gives a rare glimpse into the world of cargo theft in Mexico. News about that world typically is spread in anecdotal snapshots.
Big shippers, chambers of commerce, and others who back cross-border trucking have argued that allowing Mexican trucks throughout the U.S. will lead to increased efficiencies and partnerships between business interests from Central America to Canada.
As it turns out, few may benefit more from existing cross-border trucking than violent drug cartels, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Drug cartels and other highly organized criminal groups could be able to circumvent American border security by “cloning” trucks that have clearance through programs like the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT) and Free and Secure Trade (FAST), according to a recently released TSA report originally written last fall.
“DHS … believes the possibility that drug traffickers can use FAST-certified trucks remains low based on the numerous requirements for certification. That said, DHS cannot discount the potential threat based on widespread cloning by drug traffickers of other commercial trucks.”
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